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Online Masters Degree in Healthcare Management

President Obama declared that nearly $100 billion a year is spent on improper payments for medical care, according to a 2010 New York Times article. The National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association reported that between 3 percent and 10 percent of annual health care spending went to health care fraud in 2008. The uncertainty about the extent of fraud is as unsettling as the cost.

Health care fraud may be committed by patients, health care professionals, insurance companies or the providers of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. To crack down on the problem, you need to be an objective observer with a keen eye and knowledge of the business. Fraud is among the topics explored in graduate degree programs in medical and health services management.

Earning master's degrees in health care management

Health care has evolved in recent years, especially with regulatory changes, the growing importance of information technology and ever rising costs. Studies for master's degrees in health care management encompass the following areas of the industry:

  1. Accounting and budgeting
  2. Billing and coding practices
  3. Finances
  4. Health care policy economics
  5. Health informatics
  6. Human resources management
  7. Law and ethics, including privacy policies
  8. Marketing and strategic planning

You can find both master of science or master of business administration degrees in health care management. These programs use a different approach: M.S. programs teach business strategies as they apply to health care, while M.B.A. programs focus on health care through the lens of business principles.

Career options and outlook

For medical and health services managers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates 22 percent job growth between 2010 and 2020, which is faster than the average for U.S. occupations. An aging population and the rising complexity of health care contribute to job growth. In this in-demand field, the BLS reports a median 2010 salary for health care managers of $84,270, with the top 10 percent earning $144,880.

While the largest employers of health care managers will continue to be hospitals, the BLS notes that jobs in doctors' offices should grow. Other employers include nursing homes, home health care services and outpatient care centers.

The availability of online education makes it an excellent time to return to school. Whether or not you already work in health care, you can keep your current job and other obligations as you pursue your higher degree.

Featured Online Healthcare Management Degree Programs

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